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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 21 February, 2020

760 people on hospital trolleys for second day in a row as overcrowding continues

University Hospital Limerick is worst affected with 75 people on trolleys.

Image: Shutterstock/VICHAILAO

YESTERDAY’S RECORD-BREAKING number of people on trolleys has been matched today as 760 people are waiting without beds in hospitals across the country. 

The same number of people were on trolleys yesterday, the worst figure since the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association (INMO) began compiling the statistics over a decade ago. 

University Hospital Limerick is once again the worst affected hospital in the country with 75 people on trolleys. There were 92 people yesterday.  

There are also 51 people without beds in University Hospital Galway and 47 people each in Cork University Hospital and Letterkenny University Hospital.

760 beds is more than the total bed capacity of any hospital in the state. 

General secretary at the INMO Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the high number of patients on trolleys “means the health service is simply not functioning”. 

“This extreme overcrowding presents a clear danger to patients and staff alike. It requires immediate political intervention to stabilise our hospitals,” Ní Sheaghdha said in a statement today.

“The longer this level of overcrowding continues, the greater the threats to patient safety.”

The INMO has written to the Minister for Health Simon Harris to call for the approval for all posts awaiting sign-off in nursing and midwifery, the cancellation of elective procedures in the hospitals worst affected and an end to the recruitment ban.

The union is also looking for funding to achieve safe staffing levels to help ease overcrowding and improve patient outcomes. 

People across the country are still being advised to stay away from hospitals if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms due to overcrowding. 

University Hospital Kerry and some surgeries in Cork have cancelled certain surgeries this week to tackle the issue. 

Strict visiting restrictions have also been put in place in hospitals across the country to help prevent further spread of the flu. 

The HSE apologised to patients for the high level of overcrowding in A&E departments across the country yesterday. 

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